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Showing posts from January, 2018

Background stories

Mr. W and I had the privilege of reading bedtime stories to the children of some friends the other day. The three books we were presented with were quite charming – beautiful illustrations, gently wholesome messaging (friendship, courage, the joy of reading, and the importance of keeping libraries open) and, best of all, one of them rhymed. Only, no joke, of the twelve or so characters across the books none were female, with the passing exception of somebody's unnamed mother.

In conversation about the new Star Wars (which I haven't seen yet), I heard it suggested that there were 'too many women'. So, I went and, with the help of IMDB and key stage 3 level maths, I found out that, of the entire cast, 25% were female, while of the top 12 characters, 40% were. Granted, headcount may or may not be a good proxy for screentime, but still: 'too many', as too often (see, e.g., research about perceived and actual speaker ratios), meant 'a larger minority th…

Coat thieves operate in this area

Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
        or like vinegar poured on a wound,
        is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. (Proverbs 25:20) A particularly low point of the particularly dark advent just gone was finding myself in the middle of a particularly jolly Christmas carol knees-up at one of the bigger, shinier, more musically-polished churches in my local area. Don't get me wrong; it was an excellent evening on all objective counts. There was dancing, and whooping, and banjos, and mulled wine, and affable friends of friends I don't get to see very often. Only, to me, this was all so much coat theft and vinegar the way I was feeling, and I shivered and winced my way through just enough of the service to justify taking up a much-sought-after seat before heading for the quiet and solitude of my comfortingly un-festive house.

I've more than adequatelydocumented my annualset-to with the season already. Part of it's personal: Christmas boasts a vari…